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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went in to "The Hours" expecting to be disapointed, I honestly couldn't
see how anybody could adapt oneof may all time favorite books into a film
without losing some or all of the emotional richness that makes the book
Two hours later I came out of the movie theater stunned by what David Hare
and Stephen Daldry had achieved in bringing the book to life, Hare had
trimmed down the novel, losing some plots but never losing any of the
emotional punch the book has and Stephen Daldry elictied career defining
performances from the two greatest actresses working today, Meryl Streep
Julianne Moore and also did a great job with Nicole Kidman whose
I'm slightly less impressed by.
Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep BECAME their characters, I felt I wasn't
watching Moore and Streep play Laura Brown and Clarissa Vaughn
I felt I was watching Clarissa and Laura, the chracters I had imagined
and time again while reading the book, Nicole Kidman sadly didn't quite
the same effect although I feel that if so much media attention hadn't
focused on her "transformation" into Virgina Woolf I may have found it
easier to feel the same way about her performance as I do Streep and
Moore's. The supporting cast including Allison Janney, Claire Danes, Ed
Harris, Jeff Daniels, Stephen Dillane, Miranda Richardson, Toni Collette
John C. Rielly all shine in their limited roles as well.
"The Hours" opens in 1942 England where Virgina Woolf (Kidman) exits her house, walks out of her garden, down to a river, weighs herself down with stones and walks into the river, drowning herself. The film then transfers to 2001 NYC where Clarissa Vaughn is going out to buy flowers for a party sheis holdiing, then back to 1923 England where Virgina Woolf is struggling to write the first lines of her book "Mrs. Dalloway" and Laura Brown wakes up in 1952 Los Angeles, torn between picking up her copy of "Mrs. Dalloway" and escaping into it's world or going and helping fix her son breakfast.
As their respective days progress Clarissa visits her friend Richard who is dying from AIDS and is mentally unstable because of the diseases effect on his brain, Richard whom calls Clarissa Mrs. Dalloway is the person Clarissa is throwing the party for, he has won a prize for his poetry, she must face the fact that she is losing the man she loves, who never loved her back, both Clarissa and Richard are gay, but had in their youth had an affiar and Clarissa has never been able to find love like that she has had with Richard. Laura struggles to live out a normal day, feeling trapped by her surroundings and her life, she wants to be the perfect wife and mother but finds herself overwhelmed by the simple task of baking a cake and after an experience with a female neighbour who is ill and in need of comfort during in which she kisses her, she finds herself leaving her young son Richie with a neighbour and going to a hotel room to escape, taking a jar of sleeping pills with her, because the simple task of living has her contemplating suicide. Virgina meanwhile is struggling with her recovery from a period of depression and trying to write a book under the watchful eye of her husband Leonard. She feels trapped in the small town of Richmond and longs for the excitement of London, she feels left out of life, especially after a visit from her sister and decides to go to London but gets no further than the train station before her husband catches up with her. Laura and Clarissa's stories colide into to each other but I'm not giving away how. "The Hours" is a brilliant film that deals with the themes of love, loss, life, sanity, madness, sexuality and above all survival, I think Ricard summed up the whole film perfectly with one simple quote: "But I still have to face the hours, don't I? I mean, the hours after the party, and the hours after that..." 10/10
There's no way to capture the essence of this haunting film with a few
words. There is some of the best acting ever by Moore, Kidman, Harris,
Streep, actually everyone in the film. Pretty much everyone knows the
plot of the film so I won't get into that. I will say that it's a dark
drama, hard to watch, death is the recurrent theme-in other words-it's
That said, I believe it is impossible to watch this film and remain untouched. Any one of these extraordinary actresses would deserve an Oscar, Nicole is almost unrecognizable in her role, Moore is chilling and Streep is heartfelt but EVERYONE does a great job including the supporting roles. The most apt description for the movie is "haunting". So is the music. In fact, the music is so powerful and haunting it will seep into you and stay with you long after the film is over.
There's a reason this film received such recognition and the actors/actresses such acclaim and if you can understand you won't smile much though the film you will, at the very LEAST be impressed with the talent that went into creating this and at the BEST be completely swept away by it. You maybe confused by aspects of it, look for a lot of symbolism. 10 of 10.
"The Hours" is sure to sweep the Oscars. It's sure to get accolades
from all the top film critics. And it's sure to be loved by all
suicidal lesbians. I on the other hand was bored to tears.
It starts out with Virginia Woolf (Nicole with fake nose). committing suicide (1920s)and the Philip Glass soundtrack leads one to anticipate an interesting film. We cut to 2001 and Meryl Streep and her cell phone go out to throw a party for Rich (Ed Harris) a poet and friend. We cut to 1951 and Julianne Moore basically reprises her role in Safe, this time influenced by the Woolf novel "Mrs. Dalloway" while stuck as a McCarthy era housewife.
The thread running through the film is the suicidal lesbian aspect of the novel, the synchronicity between the women of the 3 eras, and the fact that Moore reads Woolf, and Moore is the mother of Rich, Streep's poet friend.
We spend the rest of the film cutting back and forth between the 3 realities, the discontent, and it quickly gets boring as nothing really happens in the film. It's got a pretentious artsiness to it and if you're a lesbo you'll love it, I'm sure.
I've seen so many movies in my life that it would be easier to ask how
many I haven't seen but out of all of those movies, The Hours was by
far the best. After watching it I went out and bought the Hours and
Mrs. Dalloway and read them both within a week. Every single character
seemed to be made especially for the actors that played them, the music
was fantastic, did I say the acting was phenomenal? Every single
minimal part of this movie added to its perfection, down to the set
design, types of flowers, and music featured in the film.
Kidman, Streep, Moore, and Harris, the leading actors are all at the top of their game in what I think was their best work yet. Especially Nicole Kidman, who I would have never thought to be a GREAT actress, brought me to tears several times during the film because her acting was so beautiful. I've watched the movie several, several times and every time I watch it I am mesmerized for those two hours. The Hours never ceases to amaze.
If I were the King of the World, I'd get a hold of the master copy of
this movie, dress it up in its best multi-pocketed winter coat, fill
its pockets chock full of as many heavy stones as possible and set it
"adrift" on the ocean...straight down to the bottom of the abyss to
join all of the other HUGELY pretentious, colossal-waste-of-time, movie
This is the perfect stinkeroo movie for people whose lives are about as perfect-as-perfect-can-be and who have the desire, nay, NEED, to get a voyeuristic taste of depression, mental illness, frustrated sexual urges that MUST be met at ANY cost in order to feel "alive" or, to "JUST GIVE A PARTY!"
Depressing to the nth degree, the faux depth of a mirror, Nicole Kidman wearing a Tom Cruise false nose, sporting his "Top Gun" squint while dragging on "Mary Jane" cigarettes, Ed Harris & Meryl Streep "ACTING!" for each other as a dramatic conversational style...its ALL too much! WHUH! Tell you what, get a gun and shoot yourself BEFORE you see this POS, you'll be glad you did. :(
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
One woman prepares to write her magnum opus: the story of one day in
the life of an Everywoman we know as "Mrs. Dalloway". Another woman
reads "Mrs. Dalloway" and is overwhelmed by the banality of her life.
And yet another third is actually living the plot of this celebrated
novella. And in all three stories, the ghost of death by suicide
permeates the film with a growing sense of tragedy about to strike.
Michael Cunningham and director Stephen Daldry bring forth a moving story of these three women and their relationship to one another despite the fact they could be living in self-enclosed universes. Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) and Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) for example are two women who will never meet, but share a common thread: a repressed feminist streak that perhaps time, or their own gender would not allow them to fulfil. It is interesting to note that both women have a scene in which they kiss another woman. Virginia suddenly kisses her sister and Laura, in a moment of revelation between a neighbor, does the same. Both then become aware of a growing reality around them -- that there is a larger, inner truth about themselves -- but one that will drive them to an act of self-immolation in perfect isolation.
The third woman in question is Clarissa Vaughn (Meryl Streep) who lives at the end of the Twentieth Century and is a lesbian in a relationship. She lives a life with much more freedom than her two counterparts never experienced, yet her freedom isn't without some dark points. A sense of meaninglessness grows within herself as she takes care of a friend and brilliant writer, Richard Brown (Ed Harris) who is in the final stages of AIDS. She finds it funny that Richard continues to compare her to the fictional character of Clarissa Dalloway, but he may be more than right in doing so. The thing is, he has won a literary prize, and she is preparing a party in his honor. He, like the doomed character Septimus Warren Smith from "Mrs. Dalloway", is the tortured soul whose pain, whose madness, is larger than he can bear and in this, the parallels between both writers at the heart of THE HOURS becomes strongly symbolic.
Stephen Daldry has really made a masterpiece of the 21st century cinema. Every single detail has been carefully taken car of. Powerful words, powerful music, powerful images. Nicole Kidman gives her best performance here. Well deserved Oscar! Not to mention the immensely talented Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep. And the three ladies are not not the only ones who shine. It came as a bit of a surprise to me, but also all supporting actors were GREAT! Ed Harris nothing short of brilliant, and even Claire Danes (whom I'm not particularly a fan of) was wonderful. While some people might find the movie depressing and dark, I believe the masterful execution of its parts surpasses any sad feeling. Excellent film!
THE HOURS (2002) **** Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Ed Harris, Jeff Daniels, Allison Janney, Claire Daines, Stephen Dillane, Miranda Richardson, Toni Collette, Jack Rovello. David Hare's brilliant adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Michael Cunningham depicts three interlocking storylines all sharing the one common thread: Virginia Woolf's novel `Mrs. Dalloway' ping-ponging back in forth from 1940's where the suicidal Woolf (Kidman barely recognizable under a prosthetic nose; one of her finest roles to date) is in the midst of composing her work in question; 1950's with depressed homemaker Moore (equally compelling) preparing her loving husband's birthday celebration and contemporary book editor Streep (ditto) organizing a banquet party for her ex-lover and poet (Harris in a memorable performance) dying of AIDS, all three characters are imploding while their world's are spinning (metaphorically) out of control and their very lives' meanings in question to how trivial they truly are/aren't. The sterling assembled cast gives the film merit despite its melodramatic trappings and director Stephen Daldry showcases his three leads to their best strengths and utter vulnerabilities. At points poignantly heartbreaking and wholeheartedly humane.
Having made my wife suffer through Snatch (one of the great movies ever made) I did penance by trying to sit through The Hours. The theatre was about 1/2 full -- we waited a few weeks to see it -- and I noticed something very unusual about 30 minutes into the movie. I saw the men in the crowd, in ones and twos, get up and leave. Realizing that I, too, had "forgotten" to get popcorn on the way in, I told my wife I was going to go out and get some. Well, a bathroom visit, a trip to the concession stand, a walk around the block, and about 35 minutes later I finally worked my way back in to the theatre and found out that, just like an afternoon soap opera, I hadn't missed a thing. I know it won the awards and was much lauded by the critics, but I've got to tell you, it wasn't my favorite movie of THE DAY, much less the week, month, or year. (PS -- went home and watched The Limey on DVD)
Intense drama based on the novel of Pulitzer Prize winner Michael
Cunningham. Very good story, great acting and excellent directing. I
read some other user comments of this movie and I was surprised to read
that so many people disliked this movie.. I loved it! It was the first
time I watched it, but he's certainly worth a second watch. Although I
can't understand why Nicole Kidman won the Academy Award for Best
Actress in Leading Role.. OK, she was pretty good but LEADING role..?
Her part isn't that big... I also think that Julianne Moore was really
outstanding, much better then Kidman. Moore and Harris gave without any
doubt the best acting performances in this movie!
I think Stephen Daldry is the biggest new talent of the last 5 years. With "Billy Elliot" and "The Hours" he made 2 excellent movies who will be remembered for a long time. It's amazing, directing 2 movies and being nominated for Best Director for both movies!
Besides watching the movie, I also read the book. I advice everyone who liked the movie, to also read Cunningham's book. It's a great peace of literature, brilliantly written! I think if you like movies with a meaning, a great story, meaningful dialogs and excellent acting performances, you definitely should see "The Hours".
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